Highways Agency
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Highways Agency Business Plan 2009-10: delivering through investment and innovation

Highways Agency Business Plan 2009-10: delivering through investment and innovation

HIGHWAYS AGENCY News Release (HA-14-09) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 20 March 2009

The Highways Agency has today published its annual Business Plan for 2009-10, describing in detail how it plans to continue to improve England's strategic road network.

Up to £6 billion programme of investment in England's road network was announced by the Department for Transport (DfT) in January - the Agency will now pursue a vigorous programme of improvement and investment in an efficient, economically controlled, and sustainable manner.

This financial year the Agency aims to start construction work on six major road schemes: M25 widening junctions 16-23 and also junctions 27-30, Hard Shoulder Running on M6 junction 8-10a, A14 Felixstowe to M1 traffic management technology improvements, Hard Shoulder Running on M1 junction 10-13, and also on M4 junction 19-10 and M5 junction 15-17.

As well as this the Agency is bringing forward work valued at £400m as part of the Government's Fiscal Stimulus measures. This includes starting construction work in April on the A46 Newark to Widmerpool scheme three years ahead of the original timetable, as well as making a start on the managed motorways programme, and a substantial programme of asset renewal work.

Graham Dalton, Highways Agency Chief Executive, said:

"We now have a defined major roads programme for 2009-10 and beyond, which includes rolling out the innovative Hard Shoulder Running and Active Traffic Management schemes on key sections of our motorway network. This, in conjunction with conventional road improvement schemes, will deliver greater benefits for managing and operating the road network, making journeys more reliable and safer.

"The Agency is going to be delivering more efficiently and obtaining greater results with our resources, and working closely with our suppliers. Our investment, use of technology and innovation will ensure the strategic road network is more sustainable, and supports the economy as well as the day to day commuter."

Value for money will continue to be gained by tighter cost management of major projects and procurement efficiencies, among other measures, in line with the targets agreed by the Department for Transport and HM Treasury. Hard Shoulder Running will also assist in delivering increased value for money, by giving greater additional network capacity for the same level of funding.

Last week, the Agency announced the Midnight Switch-Off lighting strategy to reduce carbon emissions by up to 40 per cent on six motorway stretches as part of the Sustainable Development Action Plan. This year's Business Plan includes the Agency's first carbon reduction targets, which have been set using data gathered during 2008-09.

The Highways Agency will continue to use innovative technology to deliver services - with the introduction of the Managed Motorways concept, a combination of proven techniques (including Hard Shoulder Running, ramp metering, and variable speed limits), and improvements at specific sites such as the A14 corridor traffic management.

In 2009-10 the Agency will complete the £68m A1 Bramham to Wetherby, including the Wetherby bypass, and the £84m A1 Peterborough to Blyth junction improvement scheme. It also plans to award the 30-year private finance contract (in excess of £5 billion) to design, build, finance and operate more than 63 miles of the M25.

Other key measures in the Business Plan include:
* Building on the successful introduction of Travel Time Variable Message Signs, we are now looking to expand the coverage of the service.
* New technology and techniques, such as the Traffic Speed Deflectometer which is used to monitor sub-surface road condition, being introduced to optimise road maintenance and surveying activities - thereby reducing disruption to road users.
* Creating better defined performance measures to enable the Agency to manage suppliers' performance, and make informed selection for new work.
* Working with Dutch Ministries on air quality research to identify any mitigation measures suitable for use in England, to expand our environmental expertise and policies in a cost-efficient way.
* Around £12m to be invested in our research and development programme, looking at improvements areas including technology, safety, efficiency and environment issues.
* Continuing successful Driver Information Programmes, such as Respect Our Road Workers and Great Roads Great Rides 2, working in partnership with a variety of organisations to help change driver behaviour and improve safety on the road.

A copy of the Business Plan will be available online from today (Friday 20 March 2009) at: http://www.highways.gov.uk/businessplan

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. The Highways Agency is an executive agency of the Department for Transport. It manages, maintains and improves England's motorways and trunk roads on behalf of the Secretary of State.

2. Real-time traffic information for England's motorways and major A roads is now available:
- From our new Traffic Radio service, available on DAB digital radio and the internet at http://www.trafficradio.org.uk To tune into the DAB service, simply press the 'scan' button on your radio. The radio will tune into all available channels and you can select the new service by scrolling through the channels until you reach 'Traffic Radio'.
- On the internet at http://www.highways.gov.uk/trafficinfo
- By phone from the Highways Agency 24-hour voice activated phone service on 08700 660 115. (Calls from BT landlines to 0870 numbers will cost no more than 8p per minute; mobile calls usually cost more).

3. Before using a mobile, find a safe place to park. Never stop on the hard shoulder of a motorway except in an emergency. Make sure it's safe and legal before you call.

4. For more general information about the Highways Agency and its work, visit the Highways Agency website http://www.highways.gov.uk or telephone the Highways Agency Information Line on 08457 50 40 30 at any time. (Calls to 0845 numbers cost no more than 3p/min from BT residential landlines. Call charges from other landlines and mobile networks may vary).

Issued by the Highways Agency Press Office.

For further information please contact the National Press Office on
0207 081 7443 (24-hour).

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